By Kenji Better Lived Lives
Moving from Los Angeles was exciting and scary all at the same time. I knew I could always train people while I wrote on the side. I had no idea if I could still sell anything I wrote, being so far away from Hollywood and all the producers.
I love the martial arts and I love strength training. In Los Angeles, I worked for Justin Fortune, a former boxer who fought Lennox Lewis the heavyweight champion who knocked out Mike Tyson.
Justin is a world class trainer who excels at strength and conditioning. He is very sought after by elite athletes in combat sports. He trains Manny Pacquiao before his fights. I learned a lot from Justin and from all the top-ranked talent that came into his gym. Justin would pass off clients to me that he was too busy to train. He gave me fighters and actors who I ended up training for a long time.
One time Justin passed off a young kid named Santiago who was training for a film role. He was not understanding the proper form for punches or the footwork, but he was willing to put in the time each day to get better. As I watched his boxing and physique improve over time, I also noticed his demeanor and confidence change. Seeing someone change in front of my eyes was great.
My ministry as a Christian is helping those around me achieve their goals through physical health. Ministry is about each of us helping those that we can, in ways that we are best equipped to do so. I started training people in our basement and outside. My approach is simple, I teach each person like I am teaching a professional. I explain it, show them, and if they choose to listen I show them some more. If they just want to get in a workout and aren’t interested in learning proper technique, I back off on technique. Usually, after a time, they will also want to improve their form. I introduce them to a strength and conditioning program that is based on the programs we used for conditioning fighters in Los Angeles. Each person can go at their own speed and level.
After the big move, I wanted to start training people again in the Midwest. I knew it would take some time to build up clientele. Not long after moving, I was sent this link to a video about a gym named Rock Steady Boxing that teaches boxing for Parkinson's patients. You can see an improvement in the quality of life after a few weeks in every patient who trains. I called them and tried to get into one of their weekend training programs, but they were booked until late in the year 2016. I added my name to a waiting list and received an email in March of 2016 that someone had canceled and they could fit me in that month if I was available - which I was.
The three days I trained at Rock Steady Boxing were life changing for me because I was taught about the disease by leading doctors, researchers and professors in the field, and I worked with actual Parkinson's patients. One of the men in my group, Daniel, had just been diagnosed with Parkinson's. I could see that it was weighing heavy on him. Daniel was a pastor in the south who wanted to learn the Rock Steady Boxing program to help others while he helped himself. Daniel had no boxing or training experience, so we partnered up and I helped him as much as I could. I showed him how to hold focus mitts and to throw punches.
I worked with many patients over the next few days and I saw the same thing in every one of their eyes. I saw hope! It was the first time since they were diagnosed with Parkinson's that they could do something to help themselves. A way to improve their health and fight back. I watched and trained them as they joked and laughed. I was excited to find a way to branch out my ministry - this was something I could do and be proud of doing!
I started training my first Parkinson's patient just over three months ago, and the changes have been amazing. He is stronger and his balance and coordination are off the charts now. I have him doing complicated footwork drill and he can keep up. The bonus is that I train his wife at the same time and she has also seen some amazing gains. Rock Steady Boxing gym always trains the spouse or caregiver alongside the patient, and they are referred to as “the cornerman.”
In my regular early morning fitness boxing classes, I recently gained another mature adult in my class, and I can see she is also making gains. When we get older we tend to think there is not much we can do. Wrong! There is much more that can be done, you just have to approach it in new ways.
Many people, believers, and non, forget about their health or put it on the backburner. They forget that we must all take care of our bodies. God calls us to take care of the bodies he has given us so that we are strong enough to do his work.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body, is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Rock Steady Boxing: